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Palestinian Authority’s Entire Government Resigns as U.S. Plots End to Gaza War

Zain Jaafar/Getty Images
Zain Jaafar/Getty Images

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh handed in the resignation of his entire government to the group’s President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday, as the U.S. and other allies attempt to plan for an end to the brutal conflict between Israel and Hamas currently raging in the Gaza Strip.

Shtayyeh, whose government oversees parts of the occupied West Bank, cited the mounting violence in the Palestinian territories as the reason for his resignation. He also signaled steps the Palestinian Authority could take toward governing a potential Palestinian state in the wake of the current conflict, which began when the militant group Hamas launched a bloody attack into Israel last October.

“The decision to resign came in light of the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem and the war, genocide and starvation in the Gaza Strip,” Shtayyeh said. “I see that the next stage and its challenges require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the new reality in Gaza and the need for a Palestinian-Palestinian consensus based on Palestinian unity and the extension of unity of authority over the land of Palestine.”

He also lashed out at Israel’s efforts to defenestrate the decades-old organization and strip it of “any political significance,” as well as the international community’s attacks on the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which administers aid for Palestinian refugees.

The Palestinian Authority Can’t Govern Gaza After the War

The move came amid months of pressure from the U.S. and other international partners on Abbas to revamp the PA into a reliable governing entity after the war—and on Israel to accept plans for a future Palestinian state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, has repeatedly expressed his opposition to a two-state solution, which the U.S. favors.

Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that recognizing a Palestinian state would be “rewarding Hamas” for its atrocities. Last week, he unveiled a sparse vision for Gaza after the war, which called for “local elements with administrative experience” to govern. He did not mention the Palestinian Authority, which President Joe Biden has argued should lead both Gaza and the West Bank after the war.

The Palestinian Authority, which was created 30 years ago as part of a plan for eventual Israel-Palestine peace, is unpopular among Palestinians and hasn’t controlled Gaza since 2006, when Hamas took control of the territory.

Abbas is expected to select economist Mohammad Mustafa as the next prime minister. Mustafa leads the Palestine Investment Fund and is a member of Abbas’ inner circle.

The death toll in Gaza is likely to cross a grim milestone this week, the enclave’s health ministry said over the weekend, with an estimated death toll of more than 30,000 people. The conflict has also injured nearly 70,000 more.

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